That’s how Beaver students, Ysabel Turner and Amani Hayes-Messinger, described the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), held earlier this month in Houston, Texas.
“It’s so incredible,” Amani said. “You make such strong bonds over two days. The environment was so supportive, everyone felt comfortable sharing.”
About 1,900 people — 1,400 students — attended PoCC and SDLC from independent schools nationwide. Throughout the two days, students explored six core identifiers — race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socioeconomic, and ability — and discussed these topics in various groups ranging from all 1,400 students to one-on-one discussions. There was also time for students to journal about their experience. At the end of the conference, students were encouraged to share their stories in front of the large group, one of the most powerful parts of the event, according to Beaver students.
“People were crying — it was very emotional,” Ysabel said.
Beaver students say the conference has inspired them to bring change to Beaver. They have a lot of ideas and they can’t wait to implement them. But the conference also taught them that to have a large impact, they need to start to small.
“It’s about starting from yourself — finding the pieces you’ve hidden away or succumbed to someone else’s voice instead of your own — before you move outward,” Amani said.
Beaver sent nine students and seven adults to the event, thanks to support from the Hiatt Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and Beaver professional development.
2012 PoCC and SDLC Beaver attendees
|Students||Faculty and staff|
|Harry Polstein ’13
Natiah Camillo ’13
Molly Velasquez-Brown ’13
Amani Hayes-Messinger ’14
Ysabel Turner ’14
Anny Arias ’14
Steven Guerrero ’14
Mariamawit Loulseged ’14
Elias Pimentel ’15